Star car: Volkswagen Polo - Safety
The weight saving is all the more commendable considering there's been a major effort to improve safety. VW claims to have engineered the car to get a five-star rating under the tough new Euro NCAP crash-test criteria, which requires – among other things – better protection against whiplash injuries and stability control (ESP) to be fitted to most models.
ESP will be standard in the Polo, combined with a hill-hold control to stop the car from rolling backwards. VW is claiming a 50% reduction in footwell intrusion in frontal crashes and 20% less side deformation if the car is T-boned, plus a comprehensive network of passive safety aids including combined head and thorax airbags integrated in the front seats, belt tensioners and force limiters and indicators to show if any passengers are not buckled in.